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Every election has the potential to bring about big changes, but New Zealanders heading to the polls this year are voting for more than just the next government.
Two referendums, one binding and one not, will ask New Zealanders to make decisions on major social issues with significant ramifications.
The first is the End of Life Choice Act, which would create a legal process for euthanasia.
The second, on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, would potentially provide a mandate for the legalisation of recreational cannabis.
The latter is the subject of an Otago Daily Times series beginning tomorrow, which examines the social, health, crime, and economic impacts of the Bill. A similar series on euthanasia will follow.
The pros and cons of cannabis legalisation have been hotly debated for decades, here and around the world.
Those in favour argue legalisation could create hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the government, and snatch the lucrative industry away from gangs.
There are safeguards in the Bill such as age limits and restrictions on where cannabis could be sold, how much, and how potent.
But the adverse health effects outweigh the potential benefits, anti-legalisation campaigners say.
There are also arguments suggesting people will continue to buy cannabis illegally, and that legalisation will increase the use of cannabis by young people.
We will aim to present the views of those on both sides of the fence.
The purpose of this series is not to persuade you of one side or the other — our hope is to give you all the facts necessary to help you make your own decision when you tick the box on your voting paper.
But this is not a one-sided project. We also want to hear from you.
We welcome all feedback.
Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or head to our social media channels.